British Columbia

Prince Rupert boil water advisory continues indefinitely

The 12,000 residents of Prince Rupert are nearing the end of their third week without clean drinking water and there's no end in sight for the boil water advisory imposed on the north coast community.

The city has been under an advisory for nearly three weeks

In December, water tests revealed higher levels of cryptosporidium and giardia, parasites that cause gastrointestinal distress and fever.

The 12,000 residents of Prince Rupert are nearing the end of their third week without clean drinking water and there's no end in sight for the boil water advisory imposed on the north coast community.

In mid-December, water tests revealed higher levels of cryptosporidium and giardia, parasites that cause gastrointestinal distress and fever.

The city continues to run tests, but it will need to see a number of consecutive, clear results before it can lift the advisory.

City spokesperson Veronika Stewart said it's an inconvenience to have to boil her drinking water, but it could be worse. 

"You know, it takes up a couple of extra minutes every day, but I know there are other communities who've had these kinds of things in effect for way longer," she said.

"I feel privileged and lucky that we haven't had this happen in over 10 years."

Stewart said the contamination is the result of a series of circumstances including a dry summer and a large storm surge last month.

Prince Rupert's water is tested twice a year for cryptosporidium and giardia.

No treatment available

The city says there are no treatment options available to to remove cryptosporidium from the public water.

"Therefore, there is currently no way to prevent or manage the issue other than to wait for the water to clear itself," a city news release said.

Northern Health Authority spokesperson Eryn Collins says there are no confirmed cases of residents catching cryptosporidium or giardia from the city's water system.

Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States, according to the U.S. Center For Disease for Control. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

About the Author

Audrey McKinnon works as a reporter, associate producer and arts contributor for CBC Daybreak North in Prince George, B.C.

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